Thursday, February 24, 2011

The CB-1. My 1991 Bridgestone City Limit.

I own a 1991 Bridgestone CB-1 "City Limit" bicycle. I've said it before, and I'm talking about it right now. It's a beautiful red bicycle. In 1991, Grant Petersen was the guy designing the best bicycles that Bridgestone sold in the USA. Bridgestone is a huge Japanese company. After they couldn't remain competitive in the US market (dollar/yen exchange rate), Grant started Rivendell. The Rivendell website is an excellent source of information about sane bicycles that make sense. That is a matter of opinion, but it is my opinion, and I hold it strongly.

If bicycle design wasn't driven by marketing and a need for pointless changes touted as improvements, then bicycles would probably be a lot more like the ones produced by Rivendell. Not exactly like them, but bicycles certainly would have evolved much differently. It can't hurt to poke around the Rivendell website, even if you don't spend a dollar. If you have even a passing interest in bicycles, then I strongly recommend it.

I don't know how much design input Grant Petersen had in developing the 1991 City Limit. The CB-1 was the cheapest bicycle produced by Bridgestone in 1991. The frame is TIG welded (not lugged/brazed) and the frame tubing is un-fancy 4130 steel joined in Taiwan. Grant Petersen would no doubt love it more if it was Japanese and lugged using butted tubing. Sheldon Brown has information about the City Limit as well. Sheldon calls the design "mainstream" claims they are intended for the "non-enthusiast" and says they are "nothing special." The nicest thing he says is that there is "nothing wrong with them." Sheldon knew a lot about bicycles, but I'm going to keep enjoying this one even though his claims seem to indicate that I should set my sights higher.

Me? I think this bicycle is great. This is my do-everything bicycle. I made component upgrades and I added fenders and a rack. It's good. I haven't made a final decision on what to ride across the country, but if I have my head screwed on right when I'm ready to leave, it'll probably be the CB-1.

I've had a great time riding my new 3 speed around, but for the past two days I've used the CB-1 for my short commute, and it's been great. I have tons of gears, and a milk crate securely hose-clamped to the rack. These are good times we're living in, and this is as good a bicycle as anyone needs.

In conclusion: read all of the technical information and opinions on the Rivendell website, then apply what you've learned to choosing a sensible bicycle. If you're lucky, you might end up with a 1991 Bridgestone CB-1 City Limit. Or it might be a 1994 Giant Nutra Hybrid. Possibly an old pre-suspension Diamondback Outlook. Those options all roll nice, and there are millions more like them.

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